Mark Clark: 38 bowl games, only two and a title game have meaning

Mark Clark: 38 bowl games, only two and a title game have meaning

Get ready to be bored senseless. It is time for college football’s postseason – bowl season. Over a 20-day period, you will be inundated with pure drivel from sportscasters espousing over a bunch of meaningless nothing. Things will be so bad that many of your favorite players will show their true colors – not their school colors – and sit out these games. Why not sit? Playing could cost them money.

But, in my opinion, if playing professional football is the goal of these players, do not go to college to play football. Start a new league for those players who just want to get prepared for professional football. Let those players pay for their own room and board for three years. Leave more spots open for youngsters who want more from a scholarship to college. You know – a future. Most college football players will never play a professional football game.

If creating a new league to train players for the National Football League is not a good idea in you opinion, why not keep things the way they are, but charge players who fail to participate in the bowl games a fee equal to twice what it cost the schools to allow their programs to get them prepared for the NFL. Of course, I would be in favor of paying the college players to allow the schools to use their likeness for promoting their programs and for every autograph they sign when representing the schools. And then at the end of their lives as student-athletes, the schools could deduct the cost of allowing them to use their programs for preparing them to become professional athletes. The remainder of the funds earned in promotion of the schools should be given to the players – including the ones that do not go pro. The players who participate in the bowls would not be assessed the preparatory fee by the schools.

Now, ain’t that a good idea. It will make the bowl games entertaining again for fans and profitable for the players. But, as Colonel Sanders says in the commercial, “I’m just mashin’ your taters.”

The only thing to make all 38 bowl games relevant again is to use them as part of a playoff system. Every team with a winning record – and only those with winning records – should be allowed in the playoffs. Byes would be given to the top ranked teams to even things up when there are odd numbers of teams or the lower ranked teams could have play-in games to fill out the playoff bracket.

There are too many teams left out of the playoffs that are certainly deserving of the honor. There are teams that began the season with top players out with injuries that played a lot better late in the season. There are teams that lose players late in the year that were among the best teams early on that could still compete and win the title if they develop other players or get the injured player back later in the season.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to see a Charlotte or Buffalo – the participants in this year’s Bahamas Bowl – make a run in the playoffs against the Oklahomas, Clemsons, Ohio States and LSUs? I think it would. It would be just as exciting as watching Richmond beat Kentucky in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Unfortunately, the schools feel a playoff would interfere too much with the education of the students. That is not a very good argument when you see the number of teams involved in the lower NCAA divisions. Does that interfere with the education of the students at those schools?

Face the facts, a playoff system for 64 teams would take six weekends. Starting the playoffs on the second week after the season ends as it is currently played would run the playoffs through the end of January. Want to shorten up that time, start the season two weeks earlier or cut a game and the conference championship games out of the equation and the season would end the second week of January. Cut the playoffs to 32 teams and you end the first week of January. Is it really that difficult to do?

Until a larger number of teams are factored into a playoff, we will be stuck with the current 36 bowls that are a waste of time and two bowls plus a title game that have meaning. Come on December 28 when we can watch the Peach Bowl with LSU taking on Oklahoma and the Fiesta Bowl where Ohio State plays Clemson. And then the two winners will meet on Jan. 13 – two wasted weeks later – in the College Football National Championship Game. Sorry, I have to go get ready for San Diego State vs. Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl – me and the other dozen or so people who will be watching.

Mark Clark is a local sports writer for The Citizen of East Alabama.